Book Review: The Prophet of Yonwood

The Diamond of Darkhold
Book of Ember #3
by Jeanne DuPrau

My rating: 1 / 5
Genre: Children’s dystopian

Some decades before the city of Ember is built, before the Crisis that moved the first inhabitants of Ember underground, a woman in the town of Yonwood has a fiery vision. But her comatose-like mind might hold the secret to keeping Yonwood safe from that catastrophic future.

I don’t really see a lot of point to this book. It’s a prequel to the first two books in the city, but it’s barely connected. And even the elements within this book were fairly disconnected from each other. There’s the main character, Nickie, and her aunt, who are visitors to Yonwood, and their disagreement about selling the house they’re there to clean out and possibly sell. The actual Prophet storyline, which barely comes across as the main storyline. Grover and his plight to make it to camp in Arizona. The kooky man who is interested in the heavens and is the only who who successfully defies the Prophet’s lackeys. There is just too much going on, and even by the halfway point, I had no idea what the purpose of the book really was.

As the Prophet’s main interpreter begins to get more and more ridiculous with her rules, I quickly began to realize that this is just another attempt on the author’s part to teach readers something she feels is important. But unlike a more universally accepted truth in the 2nd book (“War is bad”), this one is a lot more controversial. The book turns into basically an indictment on religion, seeming to imply that religions are largely fabricated by their followers. It actually reminds me most of the Pharisees who, by Jesus’ time, had imposed so many of their own rules, they had lost the core message. On top of all of that, the author attempts a tug at the heartstrings that is likely far more successful for dog lovers. I’m more of a dog tolerater (I know that’s not a word). I can acknowledge that what happens is ridiculous (stupid, really), but definitely didn’t get as emotionally invested as others might. In the end, I really wish DuPrau had kept this series more in line with the first book. The second wasn’t bad, but the first and fourth were my favorite, and I really just wish for more like them. If you are considering reading this series, I recommend it, but feel free to skip this third book.

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